House, Condo and HOA Cooking Fire Safety Tips

About 45 house fires, including condos, are reported every hour in the U.S., and 60 percent of fires are started by cooking equipment.  More than 12 million unintentional home / condo cooking fires go unreported causing 640,000 injuries annually.  It just takes minutes for a fire to start https://vimeo.com/66861851.

In addition to the destruction of property estimated at $7 billion per year in the U.S. alone, the National Fire Protection Association reports that 43 percent of people who died in cooking fires were asleep at the time.  Developers spend millions building beautiful condo communities with many amenities, but do not consider that distraction and forgetfulness can pose significant dangers to the residents who cook, as well as their nearby neighbors.

Further, with the recession and the concurrent reduction in fire fighter staff seen in cities big and small, it would be smart to stop fires before they start.  States should require mandatory range top suppression equipment in new buildings or remodels just like sprinklers and earthquake shut-off valves are now required. These units can be retrofitted as well.

In the meantime, there are some safety precautions that everyone can take to prevent cooking fires:

  • Never leave cooking unattended. A serious fire can start in just seconds.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and practice using it.
  • Have a pot cover close by to put out a cooking fire quickly.
  • Wipe up spills from the stove which could catch fire.
  • Always wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook.
  • Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from open flames.
  • Don’t overfill pans with grease or cooking oil.
  • Never use the range or oven to heat your home.
  • Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Never leave the kitchen to answer the door, grab the telephone, or change clothes while something is cooking without shutting the gas or electricity off.
  • Be aware that it is dangerous to cook while on certain prescription medications or drinking alcohol.

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Protect Yourself Against Deadly Hotel and Motel Stays

Every year there are almost 4,000 hotel and motel fires reported to U.S. fire departments, resulting in $76 million in property loss, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.  Almost 50 percent of these fires are started by cooking. Since I started in the fire prevention business years ago, many positive changes have been made to make hotel and motel kitchens safer, but fires still do happen.

Here are five tips travelers can take to protect themselves:

  • Make sure that you confirm that the hotel or motel is equipped with automatic sprinklers and fire alarms before you travel – this is especially important for trips outside the country as the strict U.S. standards may not apply.
  • Pack a small flashlight.
  • Review the evacuation map posted on the floor where you are staying.
  • If there is a fire, always use a stairwell and not an elevator.
  • If there is a fire, feel the door of your room.  If it is hot, keep it closed and seal it with wet towels.  Call 911 and let the operator know which room in the hotel you are staying, and signal from your window. Break it if you have to.

Hotels and motels can protect travelers by installing our Guardian Solution, a system designed to detect and extinguish cooking fires and at the same time prevent re-ignition. Once it detects heat at a pre-determined temperature, a signal is sent to release the extinguishing agent to suppress the fire and to shut off the gas or electric supply to the stove in order to prevent reigniting (see video).  It should be installed in any new construction and can be retrofitted as well.  It is imperative to minimize damage and injury to travelers and employees alike.


Paul Rouse is the administrative officer with Guardian Safety Solutions International, Inc. and fire suppression educator and expert In Dallas, TX. Visit www.GuardianSSI.com, on Fabebook and follow on Twitter @GuardianSSI.

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Fire Marshall Gives Good Advice About Cooking Fires

The Sunderland, MA fire marshal’s office promotes two safety-related messages about avoiding cooking fires:

Stand by your pan. Stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking

Put a lid on it. Should a stove top fire occur, place a lid over it and turn off the heat, and the flames should smother.

This after unattended cooking caused a fire at Cliffside Apartments that sent one to the hospital with smoke inhalation. Spokeswoman Jennifer Mieth said Thursday evening that “an individual noticed the fire start, but suffered smoke inhalation after entering the room to try and put it out. That person was transported to the hospital.” Read more here http://www.gazettenet.com/a1-sunderland-fire-cause-11800077.

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